The number of Chicago tech companies valued at $1 billion or more pales in comparison to San Francisco or New York. But the startups that do reach “unicorn” status do so really fast.
Pitchbook pulled data on the fastest US startups to reach a $2 billion post-money valuation and found that Chicago startup Uptake hit the milestone quicker than any other tech company. Uptake raised $40 million from Revolution Growth this month at a $2 billion valuation, which it reached in just 2.6 years. Uptake outpaced companies such as Snapchat, Pinterest, Zenefits and Blue Apron on its way to $2 billion.
In fact, Chicago is home to three startups on the list of 11 fastest US startups to a $2 billion valuation. In 2012, Avant hit a $2 billion valuation in just 2.9 years, and Groupon did so in 3 years back in 2008, according to Pitchbook.
Pitchbook said it compiled the list by looking at US companies founded in 2005 or later, and it measured the timeframe by examining a company’s disclosed founding date—or when the business was incorporated—to the close date of the private financing that generated a post-money valuation of at least $2 billion.
What happens after $2 billion is another story. Avant cut a third if its staff last year, and Groupon’s struggles have been thoroughly covered. Uptake will look to continue its momentum beyond its rocket ship start and buck the trend of Chicago startups struggling after huge growth.